Joaquim is cleared to play
Sitting out for one exhibition game was enough for Vander Joaquim. He wants back in.
Joaquim said he is ready to play for the Hawai’i basketball team when it opens the 2012-13 regular season on Friday against Maryland-Eastern Shore. How much he plays and how effective he can be are the key questions now.
Head coach Gib Arnold said that Joaquim’s status will likely be a game-day decision.
Joaquim has been sidelined since late September with an injured right knee. He started practicing again with the team this week, and has been cleared to play.
“I’ve been cleared, so I just want to go out there and do what I can to help the team,” he said. “I’ll be ready. I’ve been practicing really good. I’ve kind of been taking it easy in practice, but in the game I’m going to go 100 percent.”
Joaquim, a 6-foot-10 senior, led the Warriors in scoring (14.3) and rebounding (9.5) last season. He was recently selected to the All-Big West Conference Preseason Team, and has been rated as high as the No. 10 center in the nation by one preseason publication (Lindy’s).
Joaquim was not in uniform for the Warriors’ 75-67 exhibition victory over Hawai’i Pacific last week.
“It feels bad because I couldn’t go out there and help my teammates,” he said. “It just feels good to be back.”
Fortunately, the result and statistics do not count for that game, which means that Joaquim’s streak of 64 consecutive games played for the Warriors is still intact. He has played in every game since joining the program in the 2011-12 season.
Freshman Isaac Fotu started at center in the exhibition game, with junior Christian Standhardinger at power forward.
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If it were just Maryland, Arkansas and Houston, the field for the season-opening Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic might be a little more recognizable. Throw in the –Eastern Shore, -Pine Bluff and Baptist after each name, and the opponents become somewhat of a mystery.
That alone should make things interesting for the Warriors as they open the season by playing Maryland-Eastern Shore, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Houston Baptist in a span of four nights.
The coaching staff has been scouting the opponents, and here is brief rundown on Maryland-Eastern Shore and Arkansas-Pine Bluff from assistant coaches Brandyn Akana and Scott Fisher: